Use of noninvasive ventilation for pediatric patients after liver transplantation: Decrease in the need for reintubation

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Noninvasive ventilation (NIV) refers to ventilation delivered through a noninvasive interface (a nasal or face mask) rather than an invasive interface (an endotracheal tube or tracheostomy). The role of NIV in preventing reintubation after abdominal surgery in pediatric patients is uncertain. Therefore, we evaluated the role of NIV for this purpose in pediatric patients after liver transplantation. We successfully started using NIV for respiratory complications (RCs) in pediatric patients undergoing liver transplantation in 1999. For this report, we screened all medical records of patients under the age of 12 years who underwent liver transplantation between 2001 and 2009, and we retrieved data for cases at high risk of extubation failure. We retrospectively compared the clinical outcomes of patients who received NIV during their intensive care unit (ICU) stay and patients who did not. Data for 94 cases (92 patients) were included in this analysis. NIV was used in 47 patients during their ICU stay. The rate of reintubation for RCs was significantly lower in NIV patients versus non-NIV patients [3/47 (6.4%) versus 11/47 (23.4%), P = 0.02]. Furthermore, the discharge rate from the ICU was significantly better for NIV patients versus non-NIV patients. The use of NIV after extubation prevented the worsening of atelectasis and stabilized respiratory conditions in this cohort. No major changes in operative procedures or other treatments during the examined period were found. In conclusion, NIV is acceptable and promising for the respiratory management of pediatric patients undergoing liver transplantation. Its use may stabilize respiratory conditions and decrease the need for reintubation in pediatric liver transplant patients, and it may also facilitate an early ICU discharge. Liver Transpl 18:1217–1225, 2012. © 2012 AASLD.

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